CureVac strikes COVID-19 vaccine alliance with Bayer

By Ludwig Burger FRANKFURT (Reuters) - CureVac has signed up Bayer as a partner for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, keeping a project that is starting late-stage clinical trials in German hands. The move underscores Germany's push for a home-grown vaccine after local rival BioNTech partnered with U.S

Reuters January 08, 2021 00:06:57 IST
CureVac strikes COVID-19 vaccine alliance with Bayer

CureVac strikes COVID19 vaccine alliance with Bayer

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - CureVac has signed up Bayer as a partner for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, keeping a project that is starting late-stage clinical trials in German hands.

The move underscores Germany's push for a home-grown vaccine after local rival BioNTech partnered with U.S. drugmaker Pfizer on its COVID-19 inoculation, which is already being rolled out.

"Bayer will contribute its expertise and established infrastructure in areas such as clinical operations, regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, medical information, supply chain performance as well as support in selected countries," the companies said.

A spokeswoman for Bayer said the drugmaker would for now play a supporting role in production and would decide during the first quarter whether to manufacture the vaccine for CureVac.

CureVac's shares had surged 14% by 1251 GMT, as traders said the deal gave added assurance on the viability of the biotech firm's technology.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

CureVac last month started a late-stage clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, banking on the same technology that has allowed rivals BioNTech and Moderna to lead the development race.

Nasdaq-listed CureVac, which is backed by investors Dietmar Hopp, the Gates Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline as well as the German government, has said it aims to produce up to 300 million doses of the vaccine in 2021 and up to 600 million in 2022.

Ahead of regulatory approval, the European Union has secured up to 405 million doses of the immunisation, among a slew of supply deals it has agreed with vaccine developers.

Under the deal with Bayer, CureVac will be in charge of obtaining regulatory approval for its vaccine in the EU, while Bayer has options to take that role in other, unspecified markets outside of Europe.

Bayer's pharma unit, which is trying to build a new cell and gene therapy business, has expertise in cancer, haemophilia, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular diseases and women's health, but not in vaccines.

The group's stock has been battered by billions of euros in writedowns at its agriculture division, litigation woes and a bleaker profit outlook, in large part related to its $63 billion takeover of seed maker Monsanto.

In March last year CureVac was at the centre of a row over alleged attempts by U.S. President Donald Trump to gain access to the vaccine. The company denied at the time having received any U.S. offers for it or its assets.

CureVac has said it would launch in the United States only after the pandemic has been controlled, as the government there had already secured sufficient vaccine quantities from rivals.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Kirsti Knolle in Berlin; Additional reporting by Hakan Ersen in Frankfurt; Editing by Thomas Seythal, Mark Potter and Jan Harvey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.